EUGENE, Ore. — A difficult track season ended on a happy note for Baton Rouge native Kamaria Brown on Saturday.
Three months after injuring her left hamstring at the NCAA indoor meet, Brown won her first individual title as a collegian when the outdoor championships came to a close at Hayward Field.
Brown, a junior at Texas A&M, surged to the front in the 200 meters and held on for a win in the closest finish of the meet. She clocked a wind-aided time of 22.63 seconds to prevail by the narrowest of margins over Oregon’s Jenna Prandini, who was given the same time.
When the time was extended to thousandths of a second, Brown’s time was 22.623 seconds with Prandini, who came on strong in the final 75 meters, coming in at 22.630. A&M’s Olivia Ekpone was third at 20.64.
“I didn’t see (Prandini) coming at the end,” said Brown, who also ran a leg on the Aggies’ winning 4x100-meter relay team and anchored their 4x400 relay team that finished second as they won the team title. “I was just paying attention to my own race, trying to keep my composure.
“We were all real close, so I was patiently waiting for my name to come up. When I saw it, I started screaming. After being injured at indoors, it was great to see that all the hard work paid off.”
Walker does it
Northwestern State finished in a tie for 20th place in the men’s race with 11 points, thanks to the efforts of Slidell native Justin Walker.
Walker, who finished fourth in the 100 meters on Friday night after a poor start, came back Saturday to take third in the 200 with a wind-aided time of 20.13 seconds — following Florida’s Dedric Dukes (19.91) and USC’s Aaron Brown (20.02) to the finish line.
“I had a better start today, but I had to against some great competitors,” Walker said. “But it was fun to compete against these guys and my hat is off to them.”
The NCAA meet and collegiate record that was set by LSU’s 4x400-meter relay team back in 2005 is safe for at least another year after Texas A&M took its best shot, but came up short Saturday.
LSU won the NCAA title in 2005 with a time of 2 minutes, 59.59 seconds with a team that included current assistant coach Bennie Brazell, who was all smiles after A&M clocked a 2:59.60.
“They’re good … they’re really good,” LSU coach Dennis Shaver said of A&M, which was anchored by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Deon Lendore. “It’s kind of surprising that our record has stood this long because the meet is set up differently, but they got about as close as you can get.”
The NCAA championships will be held in Hayward Field for a third consecutive year in 2015 with the meet scheduled for June 10-13.